Whilst travelling round South Africa for three months we embarked on a detour into landlocked Lesotho. Due to time constraints we decided to join onto the private “Roof of Africa” tour provided by Sani Lodge. Unfortunately it was soon time for our final day but there wasn’t a minute to be sad as Matthew had a full day planned and we were determined to make the most of it.
Day Five: Returning to South Africa
After an early breakfast provided by the fabulous team at Maliba Lodge we joined up with another group from Sani Lodge and headed over to the cultural reserve at Liphofung. Matthew began by showing us around before a guide took over to assist us with the interpretation of a well-preserved panel of Bushman Rock Art. The art explained the significance of this cave to the Basotho people as an important part of their history. They also had a cultural village which we explored thoroughly.
Back in our 4×4 we continued on and over the Moteng Pass where we managed time to stop at Afriski Mountain Resort. It is regarded as the only ski resort in Lesotho as well as an all year mountain adventure destination with a multitude of winter and summer activities. For us it provided the opportunity to drink a much needed hot chocolate at Africa’s highest restaurant (the aptly named Sky Restaurant) whilst reflecting on the affect that tourism was having in Lesotho.
Warmed by our hot chocolate we continued climbing Mahlasela Pass on to the “Roof of Africa” route to the town of Mokhotlong. This was known in the 1950s as one of the more isolated outposts of the British Empire. They still had an old store selling basic goods and the popular woollen blanket worn by so many Basotho people. There was also a post office and although there was mail on the side, I wasn’t convinced a post card would make it home – plus they had no international stamps!
Due to excellent time management on Matthew’s part (even though we kept wanting to stop for photos and to explore) we were able to stop for a drink at the highest pub in Africa. As the warmth from my hot chocolate had worn off, I opted for a Glühwein or Mulled Wine, and was not disappointed. Not only did it warm me up but it settled my nerves ready for the hair-raising switchbacks of the Sani Pass. Descending below the clouds and back into South Africa, we said farewell to the Mountain Kingdom – a fairytale-esque world hidden from view on the Roof of Africa.
We opted for a paid tour of Lesotho due to time constraints and were not disappointed as it was our guide Matthew who made it a highlight of our time in Southern Africa. If you have more time then as always a self-guided tour could be the best way to maximise your time, keep costs down and give you the flexibility you want. Our good friend Ivan over at NoLegRoom did just that and you can read how he got on via his blog. As always, please free to comment and sign up for updates so you don’t miss our next adventure.